I’m a 22-year-old Delhiite. Almost three years have passed and it still brings tears to my eyes… It was March when my first cousin came to my house.
My elder sister and I used to tie rakhi to him and his brother as they don’t have real sisters. I was quite shy at first when he visited my house, so I didn’t say much.
I also suffered from enteric fever that month and I hadn’t completely recovered, though my reports were normal.
That night, after dinner, he asked my sister and me to show our palms to him. He said he could read our horoscopes. Being his cousins, we both showed our palms to him.
That moment, I wasn’t comfortable with his touch but I ignored it, thinking that I was being oversensitive. Then, it was the time to go to bed and I asked my sis to sleep between my cousin and me (I used to call him bhaiya, treating him like my elder brother).
My sis slept while I, not yet completely recovered from my fever, was unable to fall asleep.
So, my so-called bhaiya and I remained awake. We had met after a long time, so we both were pulling each other’s leg, and then I told him about my boyfriend.
Like every brother he asked me to take care of myself and my boyfriend. Then he said he was sleepy, so we turned the lights off.
I was lying beside him and he was playing with my hair like my younger brother does and was telling me not to hurt my boyfriend and to study well. Then he hugged me and called me his lovely sis, and I smiled back at him.
Then, he suddenly started putting his arms on my breasts. I tried to pull his hands back. I ignored it at first, thinking that it might be by mistake, in his sleep.
Then he said he wanted to ask me something, and I said, “Haan bhaiya, bolo (Yes bhaiya, tell me)”. He asked, “Why do you girls wear a bra while sleeping? Don’t you feel uncomfortable?” I remained quite.
Then, he put his legs on mine. I didn’t like that and asked him to move… Within a few seconds he moved down from his pillow to put his lips in front of mine… I don’t know why but I opened my lips and he started smooching me.
He soon apologised and I, recovered from shock, started weeping. I immediately told my boyfriend all that had happened.
I wasn’t sure whether it was because of my illness or because I was also involved, but I was unable to understand his intentions… That day, I forgave my cousin.
When he got a headache, I gave him medicines and a head massage. He said, “You are very caring, meri behen (my sister)”. But that very afternoon when I went to nap after getting a back ache, he pulled my blanket and then apologised. He said,”It was all by mistake, yahan aa (come closer)”. We smooched again.
I don’t know whether I did it intentionally or it was because of my illness but I knew that I don’t want to hurt my boyfriend.
I told my boyfriend, who lived in a hostel, about the incident.
That evening, I was overcome with guilt. My mom (unaware of the truth) asked my cousin and me to go for a walk. I was feeling numb and was unable to think of what had happened and what is happening now… There he told me about his girlfriend, family problems… Her betrayal and their day-to-day clashes…
I tried to forget everything as I didn’t want to tell anybody in my family as they might have blamed my parents… So I remained quiet…
That evening, after our walk, I came down with a fever again. My cousin brother and I slept on the same bed again that night, as I was unable to ask someone to change our sleeping arrangements. But he didn’t do any misdeeds.
The evening on the next day, he was to leave to go back home… I was still mentally numb… My boyfriend came from his hostel to solve the issue and asked to meet my cousin… But I, realizing that it was my fault too though I was not doing it intentionally, tried to make it so that they won’t ever meet.
Even after he left, he would send me sex texts. I, occasionally, replied to him in the same way. After a few days, I realized that whatever I did and was doing is not good… And so, we both stopped talking to each other…
I’m still wracked with guilt and not sure whether it was my fault or I did it due to illness?
But that incident has spoiled my whole life… I can’t study… Every single moment still haunts me…
He is performing well in his studies and when my boyfriend asked him, he said that we had not done anything.
I have been living in guilt for the past three years. My health is also declining… I’m unable to trust myself… How could I do this to my boyfriend… I, being a grown up, would have realized his intentions from his first touch.
But that guilt is killing me even now… My relationship with my boyfriend, my health, studies, everything has come undone. I still feel ashamed of myself!